On a day when I am feeling increasingly dismal about the publication prospects of my current project, my mood was not lightened with the arrival of the table of contents for the current issue of a very high impact journal (say, cell/nature/science). One of the papers was right up my research alley and the lead author is someone junior to me. Why is it that the other guy is getting a very high profile paper and I’m struggling to get results that will merit publication at all? I’ve got some suspicions, and I’m going to attempt to rank them from most charitable to least charitable.
- He’s luckier than me. He got a project that worked. (I’d like to think this was the dominant reason, but I think the following points have an influence on luck.
- He dared to submit to C/N/S.
- He’s got more resources to throw at the project than I do.
- He worked harder than me. Hard work begets rewards. (Sure would be nice if that were dependable.)
- His project has simply had more time devoted to it. Science like wine gets better with time. (Or not. My project seems to diminish with age.)
- His co-authors are bigger names than mine. They’ve published in C/N/S before.
- The reason he has big-name co-authors is that he had and used better connections than I did when we were at the grad school hunting stage of the game.
- He hasn’t made choices that
compromisedbalanced his professional aspirations against a spouse, and now a child.
- It makes no difference to him whether one of his co-authors doesn’t like babies and maternity leave. It did to me.
- He’s smarter than me. (But I don’t believe that.)
But, hey, at least I’ve got one big advantage over him (for the moment). I’m already in a tenure-track position. Though with a C/N/S paper to his credit (and other pubs as well), I’m sure he won’t be far behind.Scratch that. He’s got one lined up…Any surprise that it’s at a very prestigious place?
I know that his prestigious publication in no way harms me. It just makes me feel inadequate right now.
Damn. At least it’s really cool work. Good for him.